Methamphetamine Facts

What It Is

Methamphetamine, Desoxyn or commonly known as meth, is a stimulant and an appetite suppressant. It stimulates the central nervous system, the nerves and brain, by increasing certain chemicals. It also elevates the heart rate and blood pressure and decreases inhibitions.  It induces a feeling of well being as well as improves alertness, attention and performance on certain cognitive and motor tasks

What are the legitimate uses for meth?

Amphetamines are used to treat ADHD, Attention Deficit Disorder.  In the hyperactive child, it may enhance their ability to focus and perform better in school. Additionally, meth is used to treat obesity. As an appetite suppressant, it is often prescribed in order to treat health threatening obesity.

What are the various forms of meth?

Regular meth is a pill or powder. Crystal meth resembles glass fragments or shiny blue-white rocks of various sizes. Typically, meth is a white odorless powder that dissolves easily in water. It can, however, be found in clear chunky crystals. This is known as crystal meth or ice. Additionally, meth can be found in the form of small, brightly colored tablets, known by their Thai name, yaba.

What are the various methods of abuse?

Methamphetamine is snorted, smoked, injected or swallowed. In order to intensify their high, users may switch up the method of use, take larger amounts each time or take it more frequently. Injection induces the most intense high of the various methods of abuse and also is the fastest route of the drug to the bloodstream and brain. In order to inject meth, it must be dissolved in water. Smoking meth in a pipe or inhaling the fumes from the drug on a piece of aluminum foil with a flame underneath, are the preferred methods of most. This is known as “chasing the dragon”. It is also, often chopped into a very fine powder and snorted. Very rarely, it is taken in pill form and it can be diluted with water and swallowed.

What are the effects on the mind?

Meth is a highly addictive drug which stimulates the central nervous system. Smoking or injecting meth induces a brief, intense rush or sensation. Snorting or ingesting the drug will bring about a prolonged less intense high. This high may last up to half a day. The rush or the long lasting high both release mega amounts of the neurotransmitter dopamine to the brain. Dopamine is a pleasure inducing or “feel good” stimulant of the mind. Long term damage can occur from consistent or chronic abuse, especially over extended periods of time. Chronic abusers exhibit violent behavior, confusion, anxiety and insomnia. Meth abusers may also display any one or more of the following psychotic symptoms:  aggression, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions and mood disturbances. One such common delusion is the sensation of bugs crawling on or beneath the skin. The paranoia can be so intense, it can even promote homicidal or suicidal thoughts. Research shows that up to 50% of the dopamine producing brain cells from even low doses of meth over an extended period of time. Furthermore, serotonin containing nerve cells may be even more extensively damaged from prolonged use.

What are the effects on the body?

There are many effects on the body stemmed from the use of meth. One may experience one, or more or all of the following effects: wakefulness (this can be days of sleeplessness), decreased appetite (again, one may go for days at a time without any food), increased physical activity, increased blood pressure and hyperthermia (overheating), rapid breathing and heart rate and irregular heartbeat. High doses of the drug can elevate the body temperature to such an extremely high level, it can prompt convulsions and even cardiovascular collapse or death.  Additionally, meth has been known to cause severe anorexia, memory loss, and extreme dental problems.

What are the effects on the environment?

Some of the chemicals used are independently toxic, when a combination of one or more of these is present, they can have serious toxic or even explosive properties. The following is a compiled list of some of the common ingredients used to manufacture meth; brake cleaner, starter fluid, paint thinner, freon, acetone, ammonia, red phosphorous, battery acid. Just one pound of manufactured meth can produce up to five pounds of toxic waste. The Drug Enforcement Administration, estimates the average direct cost to clean up a lab today is $2000 to $3000 per lab. Taxpayers are taking an indirect hit in order to cover the cost of other services associated with a meth lab cleanup such as:  reduced property value, property damage, salaries and overtime for law enforcement and medical personal, medical costs incurred from suspects and innocent bystanders, as well as criminal justice costs taxpayers incur.

What is the solution?

To confront the methamphetamine threat, the DEA continues to work aggressively with local, state, federal and even foreign law enforcement agencies. They hope to ensure a safer future for our law enforcement agencies directly involved in the war against meth as well as private citizens.

The main solution for the problem is through rehabilitation. Many successful centers can help addicts achieve permanent sobriety from meth use. One program, Narconon, reports a more than 70% success rate for permanent sobriety from meth abuse. The facility uses a non-traditional method of meth treatment that focuses on both the physical and mental components of the addiction. Narconon was founded in the 1960’s and has helped thousands of addicts fully recover from addiction with their unique, drug-free approach.

Contact Narconon Arrowhead for more information.